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Telescope or Binoculars?


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Hiya, my plan was to be getting the 15x70 celestron bins next week. But I've been having a look on telescope house's website, and I've seen this

http://www.telescopehouse.com/acatalog/meade_114eq_stargazing_114mm_telescope.html

Is this decent? It sounds like it'll be perfect for me... I'm a beginner with just an old pair of bins atm.

Would appreciate some feedback on whether I should look at going for something like this - or if I should stick to bins (I'd need a tripod as I'd like to set it up for my kids to look through as well)

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if you want to see planets in detail then you'll not do so with bins.

in my opinion http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-heritage-130p-flextube.html would be better than your choice at the same price or if you can stretch a bit http://www.firstlightoptics.com/dobsonians/skywatcher-skyliner-150p-dobsonian.html would be a fab scope for a beginner.

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Generally I'd say a good pair of bins is better than a poor scope, however, Meade make some pretty good stuff so I'd lean towards the scope - but I've no experiance of the 114 so best wait for someone that's used it for a more sound recommendation

Whichever way you go, have fun!

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I have one Claire. I bought mine to act as a super finder on my larger Dob. It gets to f/8.8 by a lens in the focuser. I removed the one in mine so it would act like a rich field scope at f/4.4

This worked pretty well and it's an okay little RFT scope. I never tried it at f/8.8 but can't see why it wouldn't work okay.

Not sure it would be my first choice as a stand alone scope though. I would go with Shane's suggestion TBH. :)

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You would do better with the Heritage, it's light and portable and has 16mm more of aperture, which means more light gathering ability. It will also have a larger field of view than the Meade, as it has a shorter focal length :). It's a brilliant scope. (But, I'm slightly biased as I have one)

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Thanks for the quick replies!!

The Heritage does look good - am I right in saying I'll need to buy a separate tripod for this? I was looking at the one I linked because it had a tripod - does anyone know what would be a good tripod for it?

I have one Claire. I bought mine to act as a super finder on my larger Dob. It gets to f/8.8 by a lens in the focuser. I removed the one in mine so it would act like a rich field scope at f/4.4

This worked pretty well and it's an okay little RFT scope. I never tried it at f/8.8 but can't see why it wouldn't work okay.

Not sure it would be my first choice as a stand alone scope though. I would go with Shane's suggestion TBH. :)

Thanks very much for your comment, but I have no clue what f/8.8 etc is - is it focal lengh? :) I'm not sure what RFT is either! (Sorry I am a complete beginner when it comes to scopes and actual viewing equipement *blush*)

Would this scope (the Heritage one), be able to be 'improved' by buying things for it? I've seen you can buy eyepieces etc, are they interchangeable, or is that just for more top end scopes?

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Thanks for the quick replies!!

The Heritage does look good - am I right in saying I'll need to buy a separate tripod for this? I was looking at the one I linked because it had a tripod - does anyone know what would be a good tripod for it?

Thanks very much for your comment, but I have no clue what f/8.8 etc is - is it focal lengh? :) I'm not sure what RFT is either! (Sorry I am a complete beginner when it comes to scopes and actual viewing equipement *blush*)

Would this scope (the Heritage one), be able to be 'improved' by buying things for it? I've seen you can buy eyepieces etc, are they interchangeable, or is that just for more top end scopes?

It comes with it's own mount (you attach something called the OTA onto the Mount provided, which is the tube of the telescope)

F/8.8 refers to the focal ratio of the telescope, put simply, the Focal Ratio = Focal Length (in the case of the Meade, 1000mm) / Aperture in mm (in this case, 114mm). Which is 8.8 rounded up. We express this number as F/8.8 to indicate that the focal ratio is 8.8. The larger the focal ratio, the slower the telescope is said to be, and the smaller the number, the faster the telescope is said to be. Faster telescopes (F/5 and lower) tend to show more optical errors in cheaper eyepieces, so they are more demanding on eyepieces. However, faster telescopes are also more compact (a longer focal length means the telescope tube will be longer).

Yes, eyepieces are interchangeable, they go in something called a focuser, in this scope the focuser only accepts eyepieces with a 1.25" (1 1/4) inch barrel, some telescopes accept both 1.25" and 2" inch eyepieces. I'd advise to not spend any money on new eyepieces until you've done some observing and get to know what you want to see. You are provided with two eyepieces with the telescope, so that should be enough to get along with.

Do you have any other questions you need to ask, we're all here to help :).

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Thank you again :)

I'm now wondering whether I should hold back on the scope. I guess I'm right in thinking that pretty much the more expensive a scope the better ? Should I maybe still just buy the celestron bins for now, and then save up for a more expensive scope?

Shame I can't buy both :p

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Thank you again :)

I'm now wondering whether I should hold back on the scope. I guess I'm right in thinking that pretty much the more expensive a scope the better ? Should I maybe still just buy the celestron bins for now, and then save up for a more expensive scope?

Shame I can't buy both :p

You will be happy with either the Heritage or Binoculars to be honest, a more expensive scope (larger aperture) will produce better views, but don't forget that on top of that there will be a lot of accessories you will want, all of which are transferable to larger scopes. It's up to you really, but at the end of the day I wouldn't want to have to wait a whole year or so with just binoculars, I gave in (only having binoculars) after 2 months!

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Also worth bearing in mind is 15x70 bins are quite heavy (to hold up for extended periods), you may wish to mount them on a tripod. This will push the set up cost up :(

I use my 15x70 without a tripod but normally lean on the roof of my van. Or prop my elbows on something as holding them up for long periods is a bit tiring on the arms.

Theyre still excellent for deep sky objects but not great for planets. For planets you really want a scope.

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Depending on which bit of Lancashire you are in try to have a visit to one of the clubs, Blackpool, Bolton or Southport and have a look at the various types.

Also Opticstar are somewhere up in your area (Sale it seems), a vist to them may be useful, I have heard they are very good for advice.

I noticed that in the original post the scope is both for you and for your kids, so the criteria is not just for an adult - approximately how old are the kids?

If you have binoculars then for now stick with them as another set even 15x70's will not really add much.

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I wouldn't think in terms of "bins or scope". I think bins are incredibly useful whether or not you have a scope, so maybe the questions should be "which bins" and "bins first or scope first".

Personally I am very happy with my 10x50 bins. Small enough to hand-hold (although for extended use a tripod or monopod is still very useful), yet still big enough to give spectacular views. Many people like 15x70 bins, although the tripod becomes more of a neccessity.

As for choice of scope, the options really are a bit baffling. If you stick to manufacturers like Meade and Skywatcher then there are no bad scopes, it just a matter of what works for you in terms of usability, portability and cost. I know many users of this forum are fans of Dobsonians, but just to throw another option into the mix, I have been very happy with my Skywatcher Skymax 90 Maksutov. It is compact and portable (the bulkiest bit is the counterweight for the EQ mount), robust and gives excellent views. I have succumbed to apeture fever and bought a bigger scope as well, but the little Mak is still the scope I use most of the time as it is so convenient to use.

A word of caution about viewing planets though. None of the scopes you are looking at here will give you very detailed views of the planets. The images you will see will be very small. You will see Saturn's rings and you will, an a good night, see bands on Jupiter (as well as both planet's moons), but Mars will always be a little red ball, Uranus and Neptune will be really tiny blue dots and Venus will be a very bight but tiny "mini-Moon". (I am still waiting to see Mercury.) Don't get me wrong, seeing Saturn is still one of life's wow monents, and Jupiter is beautiful and fascinating, but you won't be seeing glossy book style images.

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I can vouch for the 90mm Mak, great little scope! I suppose, like me, that you actually don’t know what you are going to be interested in until you have given it a go. I have seen most of the planets mentioned by PorkyB and there are great to see and do provide the wow factor, especially Saturn, however I have found that I am now wanting to dig out deeper sky objects which require of course bigger aperture scopes. It also depends on whether you need to transport your scope to other places in order to observe properly, if so than portability may become a concern.

Binoculars are a must. And a chair!

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15x70 binoculars can provide some satisfying views of the planets and some of their associated moons - as points of light, in a wide expansive field. However they will only profile the disc of the key planets such as Jupiter and will not show you Saturns rings or any surface detail.

They will need to be mounted on a tripod to, but are well worth considering for planets, panning various star fields and some brighter DSO's. Ideally I would so go for both scope and binoculars if you can.

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Generally I'd say a good pair of bins is better than a poor scope, however, Meade make some pretty good stuff so I'd lean towards the scope - but I've no experiance of the 114 so best wait for someone that's used it for a more sound recommendation

Whichever way you go, have fun!

And as quoted here, concerning scopes I would think and research long and hard about this and perhaps aspire towards a more quality scope, purchased second hand such as from UK Astro Buy and Sell etc. This is what I did with my first scope a C8, which I still have.

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Depending on which bit of Lancashire you are in try to have a visit to one of the clubs, Blackpool, Bolton or Southport and have a look at the various types.

Also Opticstar are somewhere up in your area (Sale it seems), a vist to them may be useful, I have heard they are very good for advice.

I noticed that in the original post the scope is both for you and for your kids, so the criteria is not just for an adult - approximately how old are the kids?

If you have binoculars then for now stick with them as another set even 15x70's will not really add much.

Hey, the place in Blackpool - is it the Astronomy Club you are meaning? This would be a good idea I think. I'd like to see the planets and see some detail on them (as this is what the children are mainly interested in). But for myself I would like to see that, but also I'd like to see things like Andromeda and other Messier objects too, and from what I've read bins are better for that?

I'm finding it so confusing! I'm in Preston, so not too far away from Sale. Easy enough for a drive out.

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Yep, also depends on how old the children are, younger children find looking through binoculars easier and anyhow will only look for a fleeting moment or two.

If you dont mind camping, consider also looking into attending any star parties that might be within driving range, this way you get to experience looking through different scopes and kids love it + the darker skys benefit binoculars more. My daughter (now 11) has been to all the star parties I have attended, and quickly makes friends with other kids there.

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